Athletic Performance and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport: Are Your Athletes At Risk?

  • June 22, 2020

Originally called “Female Athlete Triad”, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) was termed to include all of the side effects of energy deficiency that can affect any athlete. RED-S can affect athletes of any age, sex and has detrimental effects on bone health, immune function, cardiovascular health and psychological health and ultimately impacts athletic performance.

RED-S is the result of an imbalance that occurs when athletes don’t eat enough to meet the energy demands of training and daily life. Coaches can play a significant role in preventing RED-S by creating a supportive environment for their athletes. You’ll leave this webinar able to identify the warning signs and implement team strategies to maximize athletic performance.

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Coach Responses

As a coach, how do you talk to your athletes about nutrition and healthy eating habits?

Share your tips and best practices!

Denise Bussiere – Gymnastics – Nepean

“We discuss snack options and we have info on our website from a Nutritionist.”

Justin Tung – Gymnastics – Toronto

“I find it helpful to emphasize nutrition close to competitions as part of their competition preparation (e.g. encourage carbs before competition and healthy snacks at competition). This is done in person and via electronic reminders.”

Lorraine Gouin – Figure Skating – Ottawa

“Workshops with nutritionists, encouraging healthy eating habits before, during and after practice (team snacks, etc) and eating together at competitions and events even if they are bringing their own food.”

Natasha Vidalin – Multi-Sport – Toronto

“Nutrition is important, it sustains your body, your health and your well-being. Even if you don’t want to have a big meal, at least have a granola bar to sustain you. The worst thing that could happen is that you fainted because you starved yourself, if that happened you would let the team down and your body down, so just don’t do it! Here is some granola bars and some berries (not anything acidic), some coconut water if need be and a few cashews (it is a healthy fat). Nuts an hour before a game everything else when they need it.”

Hossam Refaei – Mississauga

“As a teacher/coach, a lot of my athletes are also my students in the classroom. An entire unit on healthy eating is shared with them which includes the benefits of timing of eating, what you’re eating and calorie intake importance. This is added with talk before practices about what to pack on game days and practice days. We share each others’ ways and what they like to eat before practice time or game day and that could motivate others to eat the same healthy way or find news ways to still have a great meal to increase energy and perform to the best of their ability.”

Rejeanne MacLeod – Curling – Sault Ste Marie

“During competition, I emphasize that we have an early morning so make sure you have a good breakfast to help you fuel yourself for the game and day. Also grab an orange or apple for your break or after the game until we can have lunch. If I notice that an athlete is not eating properly, I will take my player to the side and explain how important it is for your body and mine to be fueled. Ask questions to see if money is an issue or if he/she is able to get to the proper food.”

Diana Clarke – Volleyball – Port Sydney

“As a rule I talk to my athletes about food as fuel to allow them to compete. At tournaments each family is responsible to bring food to share; potluck style. This food is assigned so that it is healthy. I think it is also important to role-model healthy eating, so I’m not eating a burger during a tournament when they are eating veggies and hummus.”

Susan Emond – Ringette – Ottawa

“We talk about staying hydrated in general. During a tournament, we bring healthy snacks and encourage eating for performance. Other than that, there isn’t a set pre/post focus during training. This is something I will be interested in implementing!”

Jason White – Ringette – Minesing

“In volleyball, make a list of foods that each family can sign up for. This way we can somewhat control the foods brought.”

Layth Jato – Soccer – Etobicoke

“My sport is Soccer which is a team sport. Through team meetings or Post-Training group meals we speak and encourage proper nutrition.”

Amanda Kesselring – Boxing – Cambridge

“Explain the importance of healthy eating, eating before and after a game, refuelling, and proper hydration before, during and after a game.”

Marguerite Gagnon – Gymnastics – Thunder Bay

“My athletes are young (ages 8 to 13), so I use a car analogue a lot! A car needs enough gas, oil, water, transmission fluid, etc. to work at it’s best, just like athletes need enough Carbs, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to train and perform at their best.”

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